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Largest Moscow Flea Market Bombed; Callers Denounce ‘Speculators’

February 19, 1994

MOSCOW (AP) _ The third bomb in a week exploded at Moscow’s huge Luzhniki flea market after newspapers received anonymous phone calls warning of a war against ″speculators,″ police said today. One bystander was injured.

The bomb exploded Friday afternoon when the market was most crowded, police spokesman Nikolai Boiko said.

The bomb was hidden in a shoe box placed under a private trading company’s truck.

A week earlier, two bombs exploded in storerooms at the market. Nobody was hurt.

After the first two bombs exploded, several major newspapers received anonymous calls claiming responsibility for the bombs. The callers threatened more bombs to ″punish speculators and hucksters.″

Police said the bombings may also be part of a gang war.

Flea markets have blossomed across Russia in the early stages of its market economy. For many people, hawking goods is the only way to earn a living; for many others, the markets are the only places to find affordable goods.

The markets’ popularity has attracted criminals, too, from amateur racketeers to big ″Mafiya″ clans.